(Topic ID: 301094)

Calling all Gottlieb "Bonanza" owners

By jrpinball

3 months ago


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  • Latest reply 3 months ago by jrpinball
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#1 3 months ago

There seems to be some confusion as to whether Gottlieb's 1964 "Bonanza" was originally fitted with metal jewel posts. I believe that some were not, and some were.
The sales flyer clearly shows the game with plastic posts all around.
I've seen photos now of a few with mostly metal posts, but some plastic ones mixed in here and there.
If any of you "Bonanza" owners could, please post a photo or two of your game's playfield, showing the posts, and also please supply the game's serial number if known.
It would help shed some light on a bit of pinball history and trivia.

#2 3 months ago

cdnpinbacon; saw yours in another thread. That's what got me convinced that indeed some did come with metal posts.

#3 3 months ago

Mine had two piece metal posts, some long some short.

I'll get the serial soon.

#4 3 months ago

Hi JR—Mine has all plastic. I found it in a barn earlier this summer (very thematic for this title with a horse stall next right next to it). Haven’t had time to go through it yet so it’s in storage but here are a couple of photos.

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#5 3 months ago
Quoted from SilverLiningMan:

Hi JR—Mine has all plastic. I found it in a barn earlier this summer (very thematic for this title with a horse stall next right next to it). Haven’t had time to go through it yet so it’s in storage but here are a couple of photos.

Wow, thanks! The low serial number and "S" stamped into the cabinet indicate that yours is a sample game, and so early production. Apparently, they started with plastic posts, but perhaps switched to metal ones starting with the first regular production copy.

#6 3 months ago

Cool. Pinball evolution in motion! I notice that the IPDB page was recently updated with info from Steve Young mentioning that the bill of materials for the production games listed mostly the metal jewel posts.

I happen to also have a Melody, which I believe may have been the last jewel post game…to bracket the jewel post era.

#7 3 months ago

Yes. I've been emailing Jay at ipdb, and suggested contacting Steve.
As far as the last game with metal posts, I believe they used the last of them on "Palace Guard". Some of them have metal posts, but most I've encountered have plastic ones.

#8 3 months ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

As far as the last game with metal posts, I believe they used the last of them on "Palace Guard". Some of them have metal posts, but most I've encountered have plastic ones.

Aha—thanks for the info

#9 3 months ago

Metal posts.

Sorry, I don't own it anymore and did not record the serial number.

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#10 3 months ago
Quoted from MikeO:

Metal posts.
Sorry, I don't own it anymore and did not record the serial number.[quoted image]

That's a gorgeous one too. The more I'm seeing this game, the more I'm liking it.

#11 3 months ago

I shopped one of these for a customer last year, and it had all metal posts. I was seriously impressed with how they glistened with all the polished facets, and marveled at how much they must have cost to produce.

An then in the process of shopping that game I came to utterly curse and despise them. They look beautiful, and the two-piece design (only evident once you take the game apart) betrays how they were made. Simple and elegant! But my zeus what a PITA to replace the rubbers - I'd done "first shot" Sys11 and WPC games in half the time! That two-piece design makes it almost impossible to hold tension on the rubber while keeping it in position WHILE trying to secure the top + bottom part of the post in place, and woe if there was a plastic or lane guide meant to overlap! The rubber in tension would cleave the post in two as you tried to position it. In places where of course you can parley hold the [email protected]&*^! post with your fingers in the first place... just a total nightmare. I kept thinking "well maybe the rubber is too small, should we go up a size to relive some tension? OK NOPE, so there MUST be a simpler dumb trick to this that I'm just not seeing yet right? Well if this post is the problem, undo the other(s) ($#!^!) so you can maybe grip under tension on that end..." but over an afternoon struggle, with my capable daughter assisting, we simply felt completely stupid and frustrated as we fought our way through. I never thought a task so otherwise routinely simple could become so stupidly, unnecessarily difficult.

As pretty as they are I vowed "if I ever have one" I would probably switch to one-piece plastic and sell the metal ones to a purist. No surprise to me that the design was apparently short lived.

#12 3 months ago

I have metal posts. Here is a close up so you can shame me into polishing them.

Unfortunately I don’t have a readable serial number; repainted cab.

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#13 3 months ago
Quoted from goingincirclez:

I shopped one of these for a customer last year, and it had all metal posts. I was seriously impressed with how they glistened with all the polished facets, and marveled at how much they must have cost to produce.
An then in the process of shopping that game I came to utterly curse and despise them. They look beautiful, and the two-piece design (only evident once you take the game apart) betrays how they were made. Simple and elegant! But my zeus what a PITA to replace the rubbers - I'd done "first shot" Sys11 and WPC games in half the time! That two-piece design makes it almost impossible to hold tension on the rubber while keeping it in position WHILE trying to secure the top + bottom part of the post in place, and woe if there was a plastic or lane guide meant to overlap! The rubber in tension would cleave the post in two as you tried to position it. In places where of course you can parley hold the [email protected]&*^! post with your fingers in the first place... just a total nightmare. I kept thinking "well maybe the rubber is too small, should we go up a size to relive some tension? OK NOPE, so there MUST be a simpler dumb trick to this that I'm just not seeing yet right? Well if this post is the problem, undo the other(s) ($#!^!) so you can maybe grip under tension on that end..." but over an afternoon struggle, with my capable daughter assisting, we simply felt completely stupid and frustrated as we fought our way through. I never thought a task so otherwise routinely simple could become so stupidly, unnecessarily difficult.
As pretty as they are I vowed "if I ever have one" I would probably switch to one-piece plastic and sell the metal ones to a purist. No surprise to me that the design was apparently short lived.

Somewhat short lived, but probably for economic reasons. They must have cost Gottlieb substantially more that plastic ones did. Hmm. I've shopped many, many games with them, and never had any issues replacing rubbers. I'll sometimes shoot a little silicone on the round "donut" rings, and then they slip nicely onto the upper part of the post, and it holds together with the base. There are actually two different types of bases; the early ones were totally hollow, and require a washer to be installed to help stabilize the base. Shortly after, they had a ferrule cast into the base for the screw to pass through. This was a design improvement, and obviated the need for the stabilizing washer.

#14 3 months ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

That's a gorgeous one too. The more I'm seeing this game, the more I'm liking it.

It turned out pretty nice. The glass was excellent. The playfield had its defects but all in all it shined up well. The cabinet was just average.

It had caught my attention previously so when one came along for an affordable price I picked it up.

Before I shopped it out I found a fair share of reviews that were not that flattering but it has decent gameplay for a multiplayer from this era. And this one played pretty zippy.

#15 3 months ago

My Bonanza game has the metal jeweled posts.

#16 3 months ago

The evidence seems overwhelming that this game did come equipped with metal jewel posts, except for very early examples, perhaps confined to the sample run. Thanks to all who have contributed supporting information.

#17 3 months ago

just to throw a spanner in the works - i owned a sample world fair (2 months previous than bonanza) which had metal jewel posts.

#18 3 months ago
Quoted from illawarra92:

just to throw a spanner in the works - i owned a sample world fair (2 months previous than bonanza) which had metal jewel posts.

Yes, "World Fair" did come equipped with metal posts. I believe it was the first title which had them, but I believe they weren't officially announced as a new feature on the sales brochure until "Bowling Queen".

#19 3 months ago
Quoted from illawarra92:

just to throw a spanner in the works - i owned a sample world fair (2 months previous than bonanza) which had metal jewel posts.

Spanner. Love it!

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